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TORONTO - The 37th Toronto International Film Festival slated for September in Canada's largest city will see a stronger presence of Chinese films.
The Festival announced on Tuesday the line-up for a portion of films, which includes several Chinese films and likely more to come as Cameron Bailey, TIFF's co-director, says they're seeing a stronger Chinese presence this year.
While selections are still under way, the Festival announced roughly a quarter of their premiere titles, including 17 galas and 45 special presentations. There will be 38 world premieres for the festival this coming September.
Among the galas announced is Dangerous Liaisons, with star-studded Chinese cast including Zhang Ziyi and Cecilia Cheung. Directed by Hur Jin-ho, a Korean director, the film features a dangerous love story set in old Shanghai.
Stephen Fung's Tai Chi 0, a period martial arts film, will also be a premiere in North America.
While the organizer can't divulge the accurate number of selected Chinese films for this year's TIFF, Bailey said there will be definitely a stronger Chinese film presence, particularly as the inaugural Toronto Asian Film Summit is set to take place this month.
"In terms of the Chinese selection, it will be bigger," he said. "We're going to see a really strong presence from Asia in generally, and China in particular because that's where a lot of the momentum is right now, so there should be a lot to come."
Action film star Jackie Chan will be the guest of honor at the summit set for Sept 10.
Bailey said the emphasis on Asian films this year has been driven largely by the surging Chinese film industry.
"I think you're seeing the creativity shift in terms of where in the world the most exciting films are happening," he said. " There's a lot happening in Asia right now. In terms of the economy, there's just an incredible surge in financing in films coming out of Asia, particularly out of China, just reflecting the growth of the Chinese economy."
According to Bailey, a key reason for creating a forum like the Asian Film Summit is to bring industry leaders from the East and the West together to bridge the gap. "To get them talking to each other so they can understand each other better and work better together to everyone's advantage."
This year will also feature the most diverse gala program to date, he said, featuring films from Japan, China, India, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Italy, US and Canada.
The 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, known as the largest of its kind in North America, will run from Sept 6 to 16 in celebration of its 37th anniversary.